Archive for August, 2010

August 29 Bulletin

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

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Jesus Uncensored

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

“Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, my soul. I will praise the Lord all of my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.” — Psalm 146:1-2

“Then [Jesus] said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves? — Luke 9:23-25

This is Jesus uncensored. This is Jesus telling us how it is for those who will take him seriously. Of course, if we don’t take him seriously, then we can walk away from these words; but if it’s true that Jesus is Lord and Savior, then we need to listen very carefully indeed.

I think it’s possible that we can construct a Christian faith that has become so comfortable, that it’s a very long time since we’ve heard anything Jesus say that we disagreed with. We’ve not allowed him to do so! We’ve built things around the way in which we see life, and we want life to be lived around our strong personalities rather than around his. But Jesus has the right to shock disciples with teaching they don’t like to hear, because he is Lord.

Jesus is the most radical person who has ever walked the earth. He didn’t come to bring peace; he came to bring a sword, to turn the world upside down, to radically alter this world and to dethrone every illegitimate king (Matthew 10:34). The way he did this was by calling all people back into a relationship with God, back into the kingdom of his Father. He invited people who everyone else thought were completely disqualified from being connected to God: the sinners and tax collectors and prostitutes and thieves and drunkards and all those who were on the outskirts of society. He welcomed them back into communion with God. And he welcomes us back into communion with God.

Jesus overturned the world by showing God’s radical, lavish love for all people and then invited us to love God just as much, with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. The reason why this is threatening, the reason why this turns the world upside down, is because to be back in proper relationship with God, to love him with all that we are, means taking something else in our lives out of that place. Every one of us has put something in the place that rightfully belongs to God alone and Jesus comes to dethrone whatever is on the throne of our lives that he alone has authority over. That’s why he came to bring a sword; he’s here to turn the world and our lives upside down.

At the heart of Christianity is the paradox that Jesus speaks of here. Jesus says that the one who tries to maintain control over his life, keep his or her life, will, in fact, lose their life. We may throw God a bone every once in a while, but ultimately Jesus says it’s not going to work. It’s just the opposite. It’s the person who gives up their life, who surrenders themselves completely to God, who keeps none of their dreams or hopes or desires for themselves but gives it all, lays it down before God, who will find real life and life abundant. Does that describe you?

Brotherhood of the Sea

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” — Ephesians 2:13

On August 8, 2005, the world learned of the dramatic rescue of seven Russian sailors trapped in a small sub entangled in a fishing net. The men had survived 3 cold, dark days on the bottom of the ocean and had less than 6 hours of oxygen left. Meanwhile, up above, a frantic, unified rescue effort by Russian, Japanese, British, and American personnel was underway. Finally, the sub was freed. The Russian Defense Minister praised the operation, saying, “We have seen in deeds, not in words, what the brotherhood of the sea means.”

The book of Ephesians talks about the unity of believers in Jesus by referring to the oneness of “the household of God” (2:19). The Gentiles, who were once “aliens” and “strangers” (v.12), had now been “brought near by the blood of Christ” (v.13), uniting them with their Jewish brothers and sisters. This unity is to permeate the efforts of the Christian community today.

Believers in Jesus are commissioned to undertake the most important rescue effort. People are dying without Christ. Praise God that united mission efforts are bringing hope, salvation, education, and relief to desperate people around the world. That’s what the community of Christ is all about.

In Christ there is no East or West,
In Him no South or North,
But one great fellowship of love
Throughout the whole wide earth.
—Oxenham

A healthy church is the best witness to a hurting world.

(Taken from Our Daily Bread, “Brotherhood of the Sea” by David C. Egner)

ICC’s Walk the Wall

Friday, August 20th, 2010

ICC’s Walk the Wall will take place on Sat, Sept 25, 10am-1pm at Stanley Park. This is a fundraising and an active event to raise money for China’s abandoned & disabled. Sign up online at walkthewall.org/signup to join as a team or as an individual.

Aug 22 Bulletin

Friday, August 20th, 2010

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